These photographs are from the Women’s March in Washington DC, on January 21st, 2017. It was a density of humans, text, visual and audial stimulation. I felt the swell of connectedness from such a mass march experience as well as a vivid ambivalence and critical inquiry throughout the long day. I took my mom’s Olympus Stylus Epic point-and-shoot. For me, these images are both alluring and uncomfortable, adjectives which mirror the affect of the event. I am drawn to the way hands are holding phones- so many phones, suggesting constant documentation and sharing of images- images within images. Certain glances stand out in the sea of figures, people seem vigilant. Faces are obscured, and what replaces the distinguishing features which connote individuality? Color and content is layered in a way that complicates dimensionality. Some people and figures take up more space than others. In these images, everything ends up holding symbolic significance.
This was the day after the cheeto was inaugurated, in one of the most disappointing, panic inducing, and eye-opening political events of my lifetime. Looking at this image from Wikipedia makes me nauseous.
I will leave the analysis to others, for example Angela Peoples, featured below:
and my talented friend, musician Be Steadwell who was a backup singer for the big stage that day:
“The representation on stage.
Since reading Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by bell hooks (like the fancy liberal arts educated girl I am), I have never questioned the concept of placing marginalized voices at the center of the feminist movement. Of any movement, really. This wasn't what I expected at the march, but it was what I hoped for. To my surprise, the women's march on Washington hosted a great range of voices and perspectives. I know one voice cannot represent an entire community, but I appreciated that white women's voices were not at the center of the narrative. I heard the voices of Muslim women, immigrants, Black women, Latinx folks, queer folks, elders and youths. Even the organizers representing the women's march movement appeared to be mostly women of color. There was, of course some room for improvement.
We witnessed a few frustrating moments in which certain speakers took up a bit more space than necessary (ahem, Michael Moore, are you fucking kidding me?). That assumption of privilege left less room for other scheduled speakers like Raquel Willis-one of the few trans women's voices represented that day. Her mic was cut mid sentence and regardless of the well intentioned folks behind the scenes-it was hurtful and disappointing to say the least. *other folks were cut mid sentence as well, but most of the speakers cut off had far exceeded the very specific three-minute limit allotted to each speaker. “
-from her blog post My Personal Favorite Moments at the Women's March on Washington 2017
Everything that has gone on- tensions coming to a head, the revelation of many in this country (including myself) about the unbridled racism, ignorance, and dangerous misunderstandings that so many US citizens are harboring, the shocking and perpetual abhorrent and inhumane behavior of the Trump administration…well…I’m sure it’s something I could rant on about with some of you for hours. So I will spare you any further in this platform.
I am hoping to become more involved in resistance movements this coming year. I encourage anyone reading this to remember that all of our voices matter here, as do our efforts to show up physically whenever possible or donate money to other people who are out there doing the work to protect and advance our civil liberties. Remember Audre Lorde’s words:
I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.
Happy new year, everyone.